It has now been five years since I first started this blog. In the next couple of months, I am hoping to go back and reread all my entries. I think it is good to review all the places I’ve been and the ways I have changed, but also stayed uniquely myself. I know I certainly have learned a lot in the last five years and continue to grow as I continually find life changing.
This summer has felt like a lot of change for me. All the transition has been a lot to process, especially since I have been sick for the last half of the summer. I had been having a lot of digestive problems and fatigue and finally after trying to change my diet and lifestyle went to the doctor to find out I had strep throat. Apparently you can have strep throat without having a sore throat or a fever. I am just glad there is a cause to my problems and hopefully being on antibiotics, I can feel better before my semester begins tomorrow.
The summer began really well as I participated in Mennonite Central Committee’s Borderlands Learning Tour, where I learned all about immigration issues, and then walked 75 miles from the U.S./Mexico border to Tucson, Arizona on The Migrant Trail, to bear witness to all the immigrants who have lost their lives in the desert due to unjust immigration policies. I then spent the rest of the summer studying the theology of immigration and talked a couple of different times at my home church in Ohio and my current church in Indiana. I will post those reflections on the blog soon. After Arizona, I spent a week with my family in Colorado. High points included hiking two 14ers (mountains over 14,000 feet) with my brothers and hanging out with my two-year-old nephew Ethan. He lives in Kansas so sadly I do not get to see him nearly enough.
The other two trips I made this summer was a long weekend to St. Paul, Minnesota, where I officiated the wedding of two of my best friends from college, Lisle and Elias. I still cannot believe that they asked me and feel so privileged to have been a part of that really special day. Although I am in seminary, in the Mennonite church, you are not ordained until a couple of years after you have been serving in your ministry. So I took the thirty seconds to get my online ordination with the Universal Life Church. The entire weekend was full of so much love and fun. I got to catch up with some of my closest friends from college as well as make new friends. The second trip I made was also for a wedding, this time for Bekah (my college friend with whom I toured Turkey with in January) in Richmond, Virginia. I then made stops to visit other college friends and cousin Cara in Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia, Washington DC, and a night in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The rest of my summer I filled with dogsitting and working at the co-op with a few trips to Ohio to see my parents. My parents are moving to Kansas in a couple of weeks, so I have had to spend time sorting through all my stuff still in Ohio and deciding which to keep, throw away, or give away. Although it is a necessary task and it was fun to see old artwork and journals, it was very tedious. It has also been hard to think about my parents moving far away. I am used to being the one leaving. I think it will be great that they will be near their grandchildren and my grandma, but I have loved being able to see my parents every few weeks at least, and being able to run off to Ohio (2.5 hours from where I live) when life seems overwhelming. It also feels like the end of childhood as I will no longer have a bedroom at their new house and all my stuff will be in Indiana.
One of the hardest parts was having to put down my 13-year old cat, Mellie. She came as a stray when I was twelve years old, meaning that she has been a part of my life for the majority of my life. She was getting old, though, and was doing very well and would have been unable to live through and adjust to a move. Although I knew there was no other choice, it was so hard to take her to the vet. I still feel some guilt as I remember trying to calm her in the car by saying it would be okay, only to break down crying because it was not okay. But as the vet brought her in with her IV, she was purring and she died peacefully in my arms—the person who loved her best and the person she loved the most. In many ways, it was a very beautiful ending to a good life.
The other transition has been moving across town. It might not seem like a huge transition, but with everything else happening in my life, it has been rough. My old landlord sold my house and so my housemates and I all found new places to live (one of whom is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail and another begun voluntary service in Colorado). If you remember, I really loved my old housemates and the house itself and so I was not too happy about the move. I am now in a house near the Goshen College campus living with three other girls. They are all very nice, but I think it is going to take a while before I feel settled and happy there. It is especially annoying because it has nearly doubled my commute to school, although biking to downtown is now easier and safer than before.
With all the changes, trips, and sickness I am pretty exhausted. I feel like I need a vacation just to recover from the summer. But classes start tomorrow and this semester promises to be full. I am taking nine credit hours and have an internship doing immigration work in Elkhart County, as well as continuing working at the co-op and my church. I am starting my second year as a volunteer teacher for English as a Second Language classes that happen once a week at a church in Elkhart. I also leave in a week for a 40-hour training in immigration law in Akron, Pennsylvania as part of my internship. I am really excited about all of these things, as well as the routine and cooler weather that fall brings, but I do wish I was feeling more ready.